The number of foreigners collecting unemployment benefits in Denmark is on the up, and the government is concerned about it. Over 7,000 EU citizens collected cash benefits in Denmark in 2012 after new regulations were brought in making EU citizens residing in other member nations eligible for public benefits after just 10 weeks of work.
Statistics show that one in seven foreign benefit recipients has been in the country for less than a year, and that number is rising.
Dansk Folkeparti leader Kristian Thulesen said that the numbers make him believe the current regulations are wrong, noting that it is unacceptable for someone to be allowed to receive assistance after being in a job for only 10 weeks. However, the Danish government can do little about it as EU rules state that member nations must treat citizens equally.
Opposition party Venstre spokesperson Ellen Trane Norby said the government should consult the EU on the matter, but expressed her doubts they had the political will to add it to their agenda.
However, Socialdemokraterne spokesperson Mette Reissmann said the issue of welfare benefits works both ways as Danes living in other member states have similar rights. She added that, in that way, everyone is equal.
Foreign Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed that the government is looking closely at the situation, pointing out that Denmark must base its unemployment benefits on the correct principles. She said foreigners should come to Denmark for proper jobs not to get benefits, adding that abusing the system is unacceptable.